Dying Gaul

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Marble statue in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, showing a fallen warrior straining to support himself on one arm as blood gushes from a wound in his side. The statue is first recorded in 1623, in the collection of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi in Rome, and thereafter it quickly became one of the most celebrated of antique works. It is a Roman copy of a Greek work in the Pergamene style of the late 3rd century bc. Sometimes it is called the Dying Gladiator (hence Lord Byron's famous line alluding to the figure as one ‘butchered to make a Roman holiday’), but this is a misnomer, as the hairstyle and accessories are scrupulously Gallic. It was among the works looted from Italy by Napoleon and was in Paris from 1798 to 1815. Unlike many once-famous antique statues, the Dying Gaul is still a highly regarded work, admired particularly for its sense of pathos.

Subjects: Art.

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